Christopher Sieber: The Kid Is All Right



Christopher Sieber is a brat. At least that’s what the two-time Tony nominee (Spamalot, Shrek) and former Advocate cover boy says about himself when he sits down to discuss his latest role as sex columnist Dan Savage in the new off-Broadway musical The Kid. Then a winsome smile flashes across the actor’s photogenic face, soon followed by a throaty eruption of infectious laughter. It’s impossible to take him seriously.

Sieber, on a break from a late-morning rehearsal, arrives enthusiastic — perhaps even giddy — to discuss the show (currently being performed through May 29 at the New Group at Theater Row). The first musical produced by the New Group since its smash hit Avenue Q seven years ago, the play has already won the 2009 BMI Foundation Jerry Bock Award for Excellence in Musical Theater. Based on Savage’s best-selling memoir, The Kid: What Happened After My Boyfriend and I Decided to Go Get Pregnant, with book by Michael Zam, music by Andy Monroe, and lyrics by Jack Lechner, examines the legal and emotional complexities of adoption as seen through the eyes of a same-sex couple.

The 6-foot 3-inch leading man is definitely not a brat, but with his tousled mop of hair and youthful outfit of sneakers, cargo shorts, and a faded shirt, Sieber does exude the boyish charm that makes him so endearing in the part.

The Advocate: Did you know Dan Savage before accepting the role?
Christopher Sieber: I did not. Of course, I knew who he was. I read Savage Love.

Had you read The Kid?
Yeah, and it was really funny. Dan has such a sarcastic and ironic view of the world. Thank goodness I don’t have to do a life study of him. I don’t do his gestures, the tone of his voice. I’m just here to tell his story. The best way to prepare was to read his book over and over again.

I understand Savage attended a preview, but you didn’t know he was there.
I told them not to tell me.

Some actors don’t like to know if there’s a movie star or celebrity in the audience. They freak out. I don’t care. However, when you are portraying a real-life person and he’s your age and he’s known and you’re playing his story to him, that’s freaky. I saw Dan after the performance. He hugged me and said it was really weird for him, too.

How would you describe The Kid to folks who aren’t familiar with the book?
They have a subscription base here at the New Group, which tends to be older. The old ladies love us. They love the gays! One woman came up to me and she said [affecting a raspy matron’s voice], “It’s not a gay story at all — it’s a love story.” And it’s true. The interesting thing about our show is it’s not the standard coming-of-age or closeted gay tale. It’s about a kid.

Tags: Theater